Hello! It's been awhile since I've posted. Unfortunately this is not a new story, but a remake, though the story is so heavily edited that it is practically new. I encourage you to join me till the end of this lovely, flashback filled story! I warn you: although the story has been "edited" it doesn't mean it's perfect.


Chapter 1

The Pain

Having felt nothing but the numbing ache, she was convinced she'd soon feel entirely empty.

Tears dripped from the corners of her eyes leaving wet paths on chapped cheeks. Her arm continually coming to wipe the tears left smears of red on her skin, raw from friction. Head heavy and swollen from the heat of her face, she breathed through her mouth, sighing miserably. Having not left the spot she chose upon entering her room, she couldn't find the strength to move.

Though as she took a steady breath, she felt herself rise from the edge of the bed. Head tilted towards the floor, she lamely took notice of a pair of feet beside her own. The yellow yukata swaying between thin legs, she felt her sister's arm prop her body to a complete stand. Eyes focused on the ground to watch them shuffle together, she let her sister guide her wordlessly towards the bathroom.

The tub filling, it was nothing but a droning noise in the background. Hearing it vaguely, it was as if she were hearing it having already been submerged.

She was unsure of how long she'd been sitting there, but her body ached as if she'd been cemented to the spot for days. Heavy and uneven, her body no longer felt like her own. Her eyes closed for a slow blink and she wondered if she owned anything at all.

Her eyes following the blur of her sister, she had trouble following what little she said. Though it hadn't seemed to matter as she was manually directed despite it. Arms rising, the cold air soon hit her skin. A blanket of goosebumps rising to greet the air, she shamelessly stood there as her sister undressed her.

Hanabi removed her sister's sullen clothes and gently guided her to the bath. Saying virtually nothing, she continued, lightly scrubbing at her back and gently washing her sister's hair. Letting her sister soak for a moment as she gathered her things for bed, Hanabi took a second beyond the bathroom, allowing a second for herself. She took a breath and held it.

She hated him.

She hated him for leaving her this way. Hinata was better than this.

Her eyes squeezed shut and her jaw clenched, and she suppressed an angered scream as she exhaled. She had never seen her sister's light dim.

-0-0-0-

It was Naruto who spotted him.

He wondered, to himself, why Sasuke had been there - no action seeming to happen, not even a simple knock.

He was simply staring.

Cautiously, Naruto approached him. Standing at his friend's side, he peered over to see his usual indifferent face. He waited, and finally, (after no acknowledgement made by Sasuke), asked, "What are you up to?" He tried to remain light in composure despite the obvious tension even he felt.

Silence.

"Sasukeā€¦?" Naruto urged once more. His focus thick, he wondered if Sasuke noticed if he were even there beside him. Beginning to worry, Naruto had gone as far as to physically reach towards him, though before he'd been able to push his knuckles into Sasuke's shoulder, Sasuke stepped back and away. Moving to glance at Naruto once, he gestured a goodbye and disappeared.

Naruto frowned, giving the Hyuga gate another glance.

0-0-0

Nearly a week had passed and nothing seemed to change. She recognized if their father were here Hinata would be much worse off. In this instance, she was grateful for their father's diligence in attaining rapport with distant clan leaders. She could imagine their father's reaction to Hinata's current state. No clan heiress would promote such a spectacle, and she would only be shamed for it. She made certain to keep her sister's condition a private matter, not only to save face, but to ensure she be well taken care of.

At first, she took it upon herself.

Kitchen staff would bring her food, and later maids would return dishes untouched. She was thinning, unhealthy. Upon entering her room, she never budged. Always facing towards the wall as she slept endlessly throughout the day and night, but remained tired, listless, never actually rested. Her voice was nothing but a soft rasp and only did she hear it after guiding her sister to drink. Almost as if Hinata herself wondered if it were still there, she only produced a small hum.

Though, as more time passed, and Hinata's stagnation settled, Hanabi was beginning to feel at a loss for what she could do.

Thus, she informed Hinata's sensei in private, expressing a concern she hadn't known how to properly articulate. She had never seen her sister in this condition.

"You will get up, Hinata." Kurenai's voice clung to the sheets. A static sound in the room, Hinata still hadn't moved.

The edge of the bed bowed, and Hinata's back simply fell towards it, neither turning to acknowledge or adjust in the shift.

"You must eat," she paused, "You'll grow weak." She had to be firm.

Kurenai had many thoughts.

Her opinions, rigid, were now stone. She wanted to be wrong. She so desperately wanted to believe, but what she saw in front of her relinquished a satisfaction too bitter to ever enjoy. It was a two-way street, but she was protective, and she didn't care. She would blame him.

Looking down at her grown student, she watched as her eyes opened to focus on the wall in front of her. Unmoving from her lying position, her breath came heavy and quick at first. As if she'd been panicked that she was awake at all. Kurenai squeezed at her arm then, attempting to calm her, alert her of her presence. "Hinata," she said softly, a whisper to herself mostly.

And finally, as Hinata's breath calmed, she turned to look at her sensei.


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